Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Etihad [unwanted] Guest

I got this email today....

Now, because we are not rich and I don't have a huge flight allowance from my company (unlike some) we always travel in economy. Once we upgraded with our Etihad points when we were both feeling rough and wanted an additional level of comfort, but that was an exception. But having used Etihad for all our flights home and all our kids flights when they come out, we have both managed to get Etihad Silver cards. As I had also used Etihad for some business flights, I got mine first and recently Caz got hers. So when we return to the UK in August it will be the first time we would both be flying on Silver, thus gaining entry to the Etihad lounge before our flights. 

I know it is only a little thing really, gaining access to the Etihad lounge. After all its just some food and drinks in comfy chairs, but the airport wait is the worse thing about travel for me, so any improvement in this boring, uncomfortable time is welcomed. Also at a base, human level, there is also the warm feeling of superiority you get when you walk into the lounge, knowing that so many others are not allowed in. I think many people will not admit that, but whether it is conscious or sub-cosncious, it is there. Of course Etihad play on this big time in their advertising and marketing.

Alas, however, apparently we are not so special anymore! As once coveted, loyal travelers with Etihad - fawned on as frequent flyers - now we are relegated to the "not quite so special" lounge with the frequent flyers of Yemania Airways and those who bought their way in by buying one of the airport pass cards that are advertised. It will be ram-packed and will probably just have dry sandwiches and assorted nuts - not the sumptuous buffet on offer by Etihad. 

So basically, Etihad are only interested in FFs if you are rich enough, or have a corporate travel budget big enough, to travel in Business or First class. I for one, will not be making the 15 minute walk to join the crowds in the "reject" lounge. So, it looks like it will be Burger King for me and the smoking room for Caz! 

Ah well - you can't beat a Wopper Meal at 6am ......


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Meh, you're not missing that much. I got to use the lounge when flying Etihad business a few months ago. It was ok but massively over-crowded, much like the Emirates Dubai lounge (actually, in fairness, it's better than the awful EK T3 cattle station). Emirates, who I mainly use being Dubai-based, have done the same thing some time ago. Frankly the threshold for a sliver card is not that difficult to achieve given the generally long or medium haul pattern of flights that the Gulf-based airlines operate. Now, on the other hand, the new Etihad lounge in Heathrow T4 is the best I have ever experienced in two decades of premium long-haul flying - perhaps because it is a haven of tranquillity and personal service (by essentially a bunch of leggy models) never intended to be accessible to jumped-up economy travellers with an over-blown sense of entitlement ;-)

  3. Well now I am definitely hopeful of using the Heathrow one on the return flight!